Service in Honor of MLK Jr. Day

By Kristen Vodak

Photo: Anna Kultin

Teams of volunteers and firefighters went door-to-door in neighborhoods throughout Covington and Carnation as part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign Martin Luther King Jr. Day initiative. The goal for the day of service was to educate residents about fire safety and to encourage individuals to take preventive fire safety measures. Continue reading

A Day of Service in Bremerton


For volunteers in Bremerton, WA, this Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service will be remembered as a day they helped prepare their neighbors to survive a home fire.  They installed 41 smoke alarms in 17 homes at the Country Lane Mobile Home Park. 

“I think it’s the most fabulous thing and so deeply appreciated,” said Mary Hamre, manager of the Country Lane Mobile Home Park.  She went door-to-door with volunteers to make sure her residents felt safe and understood why the Red Cross was there. 

“A lot of the people who live here are very low-income … a lot of them are international and non-English speaking.” 

The event made an impression on Melody Hadsock, who was volunteering for the first time with the Red Cross.  “I saw and observed that not everybody has the opportunity, capability and resources to have smoke alarms,” she said. “They’re very important, especially in homes like these. It’s important to be wise about fire safety.” 

Melody was one of 28 participants from the USS John C. Stennis and Naval Hospital Bremerton who felt well-rewarded for braving the morning cold. “People we met were very gracious, friendly, appreciative,” she added. 

bremertonblog1“We’re always looking for volunteer opportunities. So when this presented itself, we took it,” said Chief Petty Officer Joseph Montes. “There’s a lot of value in community service.”

And there’s no question about the value the smoke alarms will provide. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. A working smoke alarm cuts the risk of death in half.

Today, Mary Hamre couldn’t be happier for her neighbors and was delighted to make some new friends.

“I have never met such wonderful people who would go to bat for others who don’t have it to give and to help make them safe.”


Investing in the Health and Safety of Employees at KING  

By Diane Toomey

Edited by Nancy Waddell, photo by Kayako Sareen

Emergency planning is something the staff at  Seattle television station KING 5 recently decided they should get serious about. Reporting on emergency situations is one thing, but recognizing and reacting to them is another story altogether. After a quick tally of both threats and motivating factors (living in an earthquake zone, around the clock awareness of natural disasters across the globe, and the realization that medical emergencies can happen anywhere), “The Home Team” jumped into action.   

First up, addressing the lack of CPR/First Aid trained employees on-site. A number of staff members recently witnessed a co-worker choking on a piece of candy; many felt helpless, not knowing what to do. Thankfully that co-worker survived an all-too-common situation and is now inspiring others to seek out training.

Jim Rose, President & General Manager of KING 5, is on the board of the King County Red Cross, which is well known for its training classes in First Aid, CPR and Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs). KING scheduled and hosted onsite classroom training through the American Red Cross.


KING 5 Evening News Anchor, Lori Matsukawa is one of 10 staff members who participated in the training.  She says the drive to participate was different for everyone. Part of her inspiration was the memory of an incident on a small cruise ship, where a cardiac event led to a guest’s death. CPR was given too late while trying to locate a doctor, and there was no AED onboard.

It had been about 10 years since Brian Westbrook, KING 5 Tech Reporter, had taken a CPR/First Aid training class. He too had been around medical incidents on ships, planes and in other remote locations, and wanted his skills to be up to date.

Participants felt empowered by the training, praised their instructor, and were thankful for the opportunity to bond with colleagues.

“It was a well-taught, informative class and while I hope I never had to use these skills, I’m confident I’ll be ready should the need arise. The favorite part of class was partnering with a colleague and learning to use the AED while administering CPR. I absolutely know it can save lives!”  Lori Matsukawa, KING 5

The Red Cross offers CPR training and certification programs near you:

“Volunteering Brought us Closer Together”


By Cassylee Mead

Edited by Nancy Waddell, photo by Dan Bates / The Herald

Husband and wife team from Snohomish County, Richard and Kathy Kennard, are “all in” when volunteering for the American Red Cross. From leading disaster actions teams to starring in local parades, they are ready to do whatever they can to help their community. Continue reading

Bon Appetite! Lunch is served for residents of the Spokane Veterans Home


By Jessica English

Photos by Heather Freeman

Once a month, Red Cross volunteers gather at the Spokane Veterans Home with one goal – to feed and visit with the veterans. An event that everyone looks forward to, Red Cross volunteers serve up BBQ food and take time out of their days to visit with the men and woman that fought for our country. It’s a few hours out of everyone’s month that creates a sense of unity – between young and old, men and women, veterans and volunteers. This event allows the Red Cross to continue to give back to these brave men and women in a small way, and hopefully, to brighten their days.

This event, and all the work the Red Cross does for our veterans, is the perfect opportunity to spread that gratitude year round.

If you’re interested in volunteering with our veterans at the Red Cross, go to this link to learn more and sign up today!